Tailbone Pain while Sitting on a Hard versus Soft Surface

  • The best and worst of sitting surfaces varies from person to person with tailbone pain.
  • Many people find a hard surface to be better because then they can sit on the other to sit bones (the ischial bones, or ischial tuberosities, which is the bony spot at the bottom of each buttock cheek), and avoid or minimize having the seat make contact with the coccyx.
    • If the seat is too soft, then the ischial bones just sink into the cushion which lowers the coccyx to a point where it makes contact with the seat/cushion.
  • Other people with tailbone pain prefer a softer surface.
    • If the chair or cushion is too hard, then pressure from the chair or cushion may cause excessive pressure on other nearby body regions, such as the ischial bones (the “sit bones” at the bottom of each buttock cheek), or on the piriformis muscle is the lower part of each buttock.
    • Sometimes the sciatic nerve in the area of the piriformis muscle can also be affected, causing nerve pain that shoots down the leg.
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Patrick Foye, M.D.
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